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John E. Robson, President And Chairman, Export-Import Bank

Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes

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Mr. President, I rise in tribute to John Robson, the President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, who passed away yesterday morning.

John had a truly remarkable career in both the public and private sectors. Prior to becoming President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank last year, he most recently had been a senior adviser with the San Francisco investment banking firm of Robertson Stephens. He served as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under former President Bush from 1989-1992, and was Dean of the Emory School of Business from 1986-88. From 1978-85 he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle. He served as Chairman of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board from 1975-77, and was Under Secretary of Transportation from 1967-69. He was a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.

I first worked with John during the crisis in the savings and loan industry in the 1980's. As Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, he served as the Administration's point person in dealing with one of the most serious financial crises since the Great Depression. During that experience, I came to know John as a very tough and determined leader who helped restore stability to an important segment of the U.S. financial system.

Most recently, I worked closely with John in his role as President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank. In my view, the Bank and the Administration were very fortunate to get an individual of John's experience and stature for that challenging job.

The Export-Import Bank has a crucial role to play in helping U.S. exporters to compete in international markets against foreign companies who receive export subsidies from their governments. However, the Eximbank is often criticized from both the left and the right as providing unnecessary subsidies to U.S. exporters. In addition, the Eximbank also often receives internal challenges within the Administration from the Treasury Department and OMB, who try to assert control over the Bank. John was extraordinarily well suited to provide the leadership to defend the important role the Export-Import Bank plays in U.S. trade policy within the Administration, and to explain that role to the Congress and the public.

I was privileged to work closely with John in crafting S. 1372, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act, which was just passed by the Senate last week. I am hopeful that the Congress will soon complete action on that legislation and send it to the White House for the President's signature. It would be a fitting tribute to John's leadership of the Eximbank.

I would like to extend my condolences of John's wife, Margaret, and his son, Douglas. Our country will miss John's outstanding leadership and dedicated service.